12. Rumours dig a grave
After some months of despair the depression lifted gradually. We started attending church and home-fellowship again. Mixing with people helped to take my mind away from myself and the depression. People made an effort to be friendly. But I was aware that nobody understands the torment that goes on in the mind of the person singing happy Christian songs right next to you. I was acutely aware that the people of the Church I attended were the same ones that saw me hijack the microphone only a year or so earlier. Meeting the same people at the house fellowship was even worse. They were very friendly and helpful but did not know what my real problem was. I felt a stranger amongst brothers.
One kind brother was a bus driver. He helped me to arrange everything I needed to do to become a bus driver. I just wanted to live a normal life. Bus driver was probably not what I would have chosen, but I went along. One of the questions on the application form asked: "Did you ever have to stop driving because of fatigue?" A short time before I had to do just that. I had become nauseated and have a break for 10 Minutes or so. If I answered no to the question, I was not being truthful. What if I answered yes? Would I still get the job? I did what I always have done. Tell the truth and leave the rest up to God. I did not get employed by the bus company. Looking back now I say: "Thank God I didn't!"
There was little choice, but to go through the government process of getting back my accreditation to teach the log book system, which I had lost. I succeeded and started phoning driving schools for possible employment. I was well known in driving school circles; by now, however, for all the wrong reasons. One Tuesday a large driving school was very interested in taking on another instructor. They wanted to talk to me more closely about arrangements. The manager asked me to ring back Friday. When I did they were no longer interested. No valid reason was given. Later I found out that one of the MCAís ex employees, the ex-colleague who had leaked information (see chapter 8) works there. Perhaps he did not give a good report about me. I suspected that someone was still working against me.
To pass the long, lonely hours I slowly got back onto the computer. My website driving-school.com.au took much of any spare cash and many hours of painstaking typing. Amongst road safety and learner driver material I placed information onto my site for new arrivals to South Australia; the procedures how to change over an overseas licence. I was hoping to have it translated into other major languages.
To complete this project I phoned the Driving Instructors Association asking for the names and phone numbers of any bi-lingual driving instructors. Perhaps they would translate the information for me. While speaking to the secretary I heard a voice in the background telling her to not supply me with the information. I recognized the voice. Perplexed, I asked myself, what is the reason for this rebuff? I did not protest but just let it go as I had done many times before. The real losers were those new migrants who would have benefited from the free information. Why was I treated in such a manner for trying to serve the community?
I developed a strong sensation that a rumour was spread about me. Perhaps that I was gay and my wife doesnít know about it? Or I molested a student, but they canít prosecute me, because if they did, I threatened to expose the blunder I discovered? This would be blackmail. Was there a big lie circulating about me? But who would be telling lies about me? And one lie usually leads to another. This was my line of thinking from comments people made and the way I was treated while looking for a job or just establishing my website. Whoever was spreading a rumour was digging their own grave.
For example, during this time I tried to rekindle a friendship with an old friend. We had known each other for years. He also plays the trumpet and is of German background. But the more I tried to reach out to him, the more he seemed to withdraw. He made a comment on an email: Ė I could never have done what you did. - I was puzzled at this statement. When I asked him what this meant he was very vague about it. I started to get a feeling of being an outcast. I must have said something or done something so terrible that everyone is avoiding me. But what was I supposed to have done?
Eventually I did land a contract with a large driving school. They were looking for a manual instructor in the Northern Suburbs. It suited me ideally because I already had a fully fitted out vehicle and lived in the area. I wrote in my diary that I was hoping for a long relationship with that company. It was such a relief to again have some future. My confidence rose, I started again to believe in myself. My appetite returned. The cloud had lifted and I looked forward being able to get myself back on track and into a normal life.
During conversations I found out that many of the new students actually had contacted the MCA driving school first. But because the MCA no longer had a driving school, the office staff referred them to the school I now worked for. I smiled to myself, realizing I had lost my job with the MCA, yet was still teaching some of their customers. I even managed to teach the log book at first, but things would soon change.
My website gradually grew bigger and better. Right from the start I could see the potential of the internet. I started uploading articles and tutorials to learn to drive. The idea was for students to do homework and for parents to have a guide what was expected from a learner, without passing on their bad wrong habits. I found a Christian man, a web designer who was very helpful and reasonably priced. I spent hours establishing and maintaining www.driving-school.com.au in the evenings and weekends.
I was fortunate to obtain this web address. While I was ill I researched web addresses and found that some were not taken. Isobel protested when I registered driving-school.ca, drivingschool.co.nz, driving-school.co.za. I intended to later expand to Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. I also saw a bargain in light-fittings.com and photo-copiers.com. The latter one I was able to resell later and made about $ 400 profit. It was not much but boosted my confidence in myself. Isobel kept resenting my time spent on the computer and spending money that we didnít have.
Students would do web design for me in return for driving lessons. One of these, a Chinese programmer, created a web directory for driving schools. I was planning to list instructors and charge for the service. The free 12 month listings were no problem, but I did not get much response when it came to collect the payments on expiry. Making money was not my strong point.
My territory assigned by the new employer was the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide. After a few weeks I found out, that to lock-in clients while they are on the telephone, the operators would pick any available instructor, regardless of locality. Suddenly my area stretched well into the Western suburbs and even down to the beach. It made the managerís job easy on the telephone, but an instructorís unpaid travelling time of up to 1/2 hour each way was not considered. At first I did not complain about this for fear of losing the contract. When I did point out that Henley Beach was a bit far to travel, the consequences followed. I received no more new students. My work simply dried up. In my again slightly depressed mind, I also imagined that the MCA found out that I worked for this driving school and gave them an ultimatum: Sack me or get no more clients.
To this day I never was told why I had lost that contract. I canít help being suspicious of the circumstances why I lost this contract. Through all this period I was looking for moral support from anyone I could find. Since the stay in hospital none of my friends or family understood my actions. We seldom talked openly about it. My stress level again started to rise.
Autobiography - Dieter Fischer
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves